Southeastern superpave center pooled-fund activities.
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Southeastern superpave center pooled-fund activities.

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      Much has been learned about materials characteristics, testing procedures, new equipment, mix design, and pavement performance through the many studies conducted as a part of the Southeastern Superpave Center (SSC) pooled-fund program. Lessons learned from research conducted for agencies across the country have benefitted other agencies as well and many specification changes have been implemented based on the SSC project outcomes. Studies conducted during this pooled-fund research program will help materials engineers for years to come understand more about the relationship between materials properties, mix design, and actual field performance. A structural analysis that considered improvements to mix design technology and HMA materials, as well as changes in traffic loading configurations was conducted. The study showed that the AASHTO layer coefficient for flexible pavements was overly conservative and recommended a new layer coefficient be used that could result in 18% reduction in HMA pavement thickness. Advances have also been made in developing new test equipment. The National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) close-proximity trailer for measuring sound pressure levels has significantly contributed to the knowledge of quieter pavements and their characteristics which will aid in mix type selection where noise levels are an issue. The field permeability device that was developed through this pooled-fund research allows technicians to determine a relative measure of permeability of in-place pavement layers without the need for coring. Moreover, the Asphalt Pavement Analyzer (APA) ruggedness testing has shown that the APA equipment can reliably rank the rutting resistance of hot mix asphalt (HMA) mixtures in an order that closely matches observed field performance over the life of the pavement. Training opportunities through the SSC have provided technicians and engineers in several states with the appropriate skills needed to perform Superpave binder and mix design testing. Over 200 agency, contractor, and industry personnel have been certified through SSC Superpave training conducted either at NCAT facilities or at on-site locations.
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